Archive for June, 2007

Favorite Shots for Thursday, June 7, 2007

Friday, June 8th, 2007

Here are my favorite shots from today.

lal got this cute action shot of the Western Scrub-Jay. Exit, stage right:

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spurdin got this wonderful shot of the Allen’s Hummingbird:

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And noho_bird_club got this incredible close-up, also of the Allen’s Hummingbird:

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User tedr commented on that last one, “Note the bright white throat, lack of white above the eye (but a faint eye-stripe posterior to the eye) and the ‘hint’ of rufous on the sides.” All of which is true; those field marks are clearly visible. (And thanks to tedr for educating me about that; I never noticed the first two of those.) Checking the field guide, I also notice that you can pretty much make out the “orange ‘eyebrow'” that Sibley talks about.

Yup, no two ways about it: It’s a Selasphorus female. We’re calling her an Allen’s, and I’m fairly comfortable doing so, but of course, from these shots there’s really no way to say she couldn’t be a female Rufous Hummingbird. We’re saying Allen’s based mainly on the idea that the Rufous hummers have already migrated through to their more-northerly breeding grounds, in Oregon and points north. I’ve read that experts can distinguish the two Selasphorus species by making a careful examination of the tail feathers when holding a bird in the hand during banding operations, but I’m not expecting we’ll get that kind of detail via the birdcam.

Any way you slice it, though, she’s a beautiful bird, and these are great shots.

Pine Siskin!

Thursday, June 7th, 2007

I’m such a dweeb. A single Pine Siskin was photographed three times back on June 5, first at 7:38 a.m. by spurdin, and twice more ten minutes later by noho_bird_club. Check out these awesome shots:

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I love that you can really see that distinctive yellow pattern in the wings. The siskin is such a cool bird, and one that I never imagined would pop up in the birdcam. That must have been a really exciting thing to see.

According to noho_bird_club’s comments on the last photo, the bird came back again about five minutes later, and was hopping around on the deck railing, but no one was able to get a shot. kryptonkay reports that she zoomed in on the bird at one point, but that she also was unable to get a shot.

Congratulations to everyone who was lucky enough to see the bird, and especially to spurdin and noho_bird_club for getting those great pictures! And my apologies for not even noticing that that happened; I must have been scanning too quickly through the photos that day. I guess I wasn’t bothering to read the IDs. In the thumbnails (or in a wide shot of the feeders, without zooming in) it’s pretty easy to mistake the siskin for a House Finch or a House Sparrow. It just goes to show, you never know what you’re missing if you don’t take the time to look.

Favorite Shots for Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Thursday, June 7th, 2007

No great rarities yesterday, but lots of neat photos of the usual suspects.

I liked this close-up of an inverted Pygmy Nuthatch (“It’s the nuthatch way,” commented the photographer, vireo):

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And kryptonkay got this amusing shot of what I think might be two ladies (female House Sparrow and female American Robin, though the lighting makes me unsure about the robin):

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User spurdin (who has really been impressing me) got this beautiful shot of an Anna’s Hummingbird:

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Finally, user bazerkly got these neat shots, which I like because of how they demonstrate the wide variation you see in the coloration of male House Finches:

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Photo Ties for ‘Earliest Bird’

Thursday, June 7th, 2007

At 5:31 a.m. today kiddo got this shot of the American Robin getting a drink:

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That photo ties with #11253 for “earliest bird”. One minute earlier and we would have had a new record.

Favorite Shots for Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Tuesday, June 5th, 2007

Besides rookie’s new “latest bird” record, these two shots from today by user spurdin really impresed me:

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Pretty! 🙂

Update: Duh. I completely missed that there also were three pictures taken of a new bird on June 5: the Pine Siskin.

New Latest Bird Record

Tuesday, June 5th, 2007

Congratulations to rookie, who got this great shot of a Mourning Dove at 8:34 p.m. today, setting a new record for “latest identified photo”:

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Congratulations, noho_bird_club!

Tuesday, June 5th, 2007

Sorry, sunbird; your time atop the leaderboard was oh-so-brief. We’ve got a new leader now: noho_bird_club.


Favorite Shots for Sunday, June 3, 2007

Monday, June 4th, 2007

Here are some of my favorite shots from yesterday.

Actually, the first one isn’t from yesterday; it’s from late on Saturday, when kryptonkay (naturally) got this beautiful close-up of a Mourning Dove:

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Has a certain Marilyn Monroe feel to it, doesn’t it? Especially with that beauty mark. 🙂

The rest of these shots are from Sunday. fingerlakes got this fun action shot of the American Robin doing what it does best:

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kiddo got this image of a Lesser Goldfinch that either has a really weird mark on its forehead (that didn’t appear in any of the other shots of Lesser Goldfinches taken yesterday), or that has some kind of “double exposure” going on (which doesn’t seem very likely to me). Or I guess it could be a piece of flying seed, or something, in the foreground at just the right moment? Dunno.

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Next is this shot, which is probably my favorite of the bunch. It’s another take-your-breath-away beauty shot, this time of a male House Finch, by (who else?) kryptonkay:

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Finally, the Song Sparrow popped up in the ball feeder late in the day, and hung around long enough for me to get this shot. It’s not the prettiest picture, but I still get excited about seeing the Song Sparrow:

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Classification Speed Up!

Monday, June 4th, 2007

I mentioned in an update to a previous item that I no longer think the system has been intentionally nerfed. From some email correspondence I’ve had with the CONE SF system’s creators, I now believe that all the slowdowns I’ve been perceiving as intentional actions are in fact just garden-variety slowness resulting from performance issues with the site’s database.

In an email I got early this morning from Bryce Lee, who is listed on the site’s credits page as being responsible for “Database and Website Design and Engineering”, he mentioned that “tomorrow, we are rolling out the classification fix and will be addressing the my gallery shortly.” So I popped into the system just now (at 6:30 a.m. Pacific time) and entered a couple of classifications, and the result page popped right up within a second or two. That’s awesome!

Go, Bryce! 🙂

Congratulations, sunbird!

Sunday, June 3rd, 2007

The game has a new leader as of this afternoon. wyoming built a big lead weeks ago by being really zealous about watching the site all day and entering new IDs very quickly, winning the race to be one of the first three to enter an ID. He (or she) got to 5001 points and basically quit; I haven’t seen him (or her) on the game since then. It’s been a steady slog of people working their way up to that score, and today sunbird finally passed it.

Congratulations, sunbird!

That makes me wonder if wyoming will be back now. I’m guessing not, but we’ll see.